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L6pic.Coversmall.jpg (208380 bytes)ATZILUTH 
A UNIQUE CONJUNCTION OF CIRCUMSTANCES


There are times that a mere technical review is not possible or suffice, because of the overwhelming number of circumstances surrounding the concept and subsequent making of a blade that can be addressed, in the least, as strange.

In this case, not only the circumstances containing different inputs are significant, but also the timing for this blade. 

It is interesting to note that throughout its concept and making, all parties involved, namely Howard Clark, Fred Lohman, Bawko, and a dear Friend who kept watch on the shipment of the payments, were all not only friendly but committed to do their best in what turned to be a wonderful piece which arrived in due time.

Because of all this I must not only thank all the above people for their total dedication to this project, but also for the excellence of their work.

In doing so, I am just performing a duty from my conscience, nothing more, and hope that those who read me will be lenient enough with the not so good quality of the photographs I took.

I will keep adding other photos and extending the article as some other details arrive.
Antonio Cejunior - November 2001

 
SFI THREAD ON THE POSTING OF THIS REVIEW


A CONVERGENCE OF INCIDENCES


PLACING THE ORDER
On late June 2001, after viewing that I had a very unique hamon 1086 blade by Howard Clark, a 900 Layers by the same smith, a Katsujin-ken (Life giving sword) commissioned to Rick Barrett as well as a black blade, I felt the sudden need to own an L6 Bainite to create a kind of a trilogy of Howard's work.

I had previously spoken with Howard and he had told me over the phone about the genie that came out of the bottle, and I felt it was time for it.

I sent Howard a drawing in a link with the specifications, and the deal was on. It was to be a 28 inches nagasa shinogi-zukuri with a 7/8 of an inch sori, which would later be changed into a shobu-zukuri style.

Christine accepted the order on behalf of Howard and for some very unique feeling, I told Christine and Howard that I had to have the blade in my hands before the end of October and hoped that this could be possible.

The first event that stroke me was the subsequent announcement by Howard that he would from then on be selling the L6 Bainite exclusively through Bugei, which in turn was the place where I first purchased my early Bamboo katanas and my 1086. I recall Howard mentioning that mine was the last order accepted prior to the signature of the contract.

I
felt very lucky and somehow found out that Howard sensed that my urge for the blade to be ready and in my hands in October was not a mere puerile caprice of mine.

THE CONCEPT

By then I had already a very defined picture of what I wanted for the sword furniture. I have thought about it and reached the conclusion that the L6 would have to carry a more contemporary look to match the type of steel that was by no means traditional tamahagane.

At that time Bawko had posted his titanium katana and I liked the innovation. I recalled a distant image of a break disk from a Harley Davidson and decided to design a tsuba that would have a very contemporary look, based on the faded memory of the disk brake.

I recall posting the design of what I called the radial tsuba, and contacted Bawko wondering if he would machine make two tsuba. One in titanium, which I would keep, and another one in mild steel that would be blackened and placed in the L6. 
Then, someone downloaded the tsub design so that he could finish studying something that he would then reveal to me.

In a short time, this person revealed himself as a very advanced student of the Kabala, and sent me a numerological reading of the tsuba that I received like a punch in my stomach.

After the strong spiritual approach that I wanted to impart to the Katsujin-ken, this revelation came as a solution to all the remaining parts of the design. I prepared myself to study the Kabala in a more intense way. This all happened in July, just before I departed on vacations for Portugal.

Koshirae.jpg (112868 bytes)Now the koshirae had matured enough, and further correspondence with two friends added some final input to it.
There was also a special request: the menuki had to be just 3 buttons, plain silver, to match the simplicity in size, of the more complicated radial tsuba. Fred did not have this, but he did transform the cross feathers menuki into exactly what I wanted, while I was informed that Bawko’s mild steel was not that mild and even though Fred soaked the tsuka for a much more lengthy time, it would not turn black. It turned a warm gray… I accepted as seems like this tsuba was bound to be exactly very strange in behaviour.

I have decided that the blade would be dressed only in silver. No gold, copper or shakudo could be present. I wanted the tsuka-ito to be a combination of Fred Lohman’s black tsunami with a thinner leather ito on top.
This was to be discussed when I returned from my vacations.

By the third week of August, if memory serves, I was told by Howard that the blade was finished and I hurried to send the remaining payment.

The blade was sent to Fred Lohman while I requested for some pictures to be sent to me. At that time Fred was well aware of the deadline and of the story about the radial tsuba. I put up a link with all my koshirae choices, and after being informed by Fred that the double tsuka-ito would not work, I decided for a black leather ito. 

3.AtziluthKatatemaki.jpg (348543 bytes)I chose a 14 inches tsuka as it is exactly half the length of the 28 inches blade, becoming, therefore, one third of the total length. I sent Fred Lohman a simulation of my request for a katatemaki that would show five diamonds at each end, with the simple silver menuki placed in the center. It was something I wanted, five diamonds in each side, and only when I reviewed the numerological reading of the tsuba I realized again that 5 was again the number of destruction. Each hand would be placed over a 5 diamonds window, thus complementing on of the tsuba’s numerological reading. Again I was amazed at this intuitive choice.

MyL6SamegawaSayaWeb.jpg (38458 bytes)As for the saya, I knew there were no one working with urushi and I felt that there was not much time left after the sword was polished, standard polish for what would be a tremendous cutter. So I asked Fred for a nice samé to be placed 10 inches long next to the horn koiguchi.

At this stage I felt that Fred had tuned in enthusiastically into this sword and I was informed that the saya would be made in honoki wood and it had a wonderful same-gawa as well as a round kurigata with silver shitodome. I requested a very strong lacquer, and Fred tied the Sageo in a way he knows I prefer, so the sageo will not interfere with the saya hand for Nukitsuke.

Fred Lohman told me that he had his sayashi put a nylon reinforcement inside the saya on the cutting side to further protect the wood seam against the first cutting.

I decided to name the sword Atziluth, and my feeling it is that it is both contemporary and very ancient. The pictures that were taken under open sky do not make enough justice to the tsuka ito which is soft and semi-matt, yet I could not stop the blue reflection.

In short, since I have handled it, I can feel the blade’s energy, like a 500 cc bike wanting to be driven. The steel seems to be alive, every single piece have been assembled with utmost care and the entire blade is just waiting to be unleashed.

It, however, will never be. I have the feeling that it would cut through bamboo with extreme ease. Just that, having felt the tip of the kissaki and seen how sharp it is, I wonder if I will ever cut more then some tatami.

It may sound a little too much for some of the readers, but I can feel the terrible power this blade has, and it has to be fed with good and positive energy.

BLADE SPECIFICATIONS 

As I said before, Atziluth is a shobu zukuri:

Nagasa: 28 inches
Motohaba: 3.5 cm
Sakihaba: 2.5 cm
Sori: 7/8 of an inch at 10 inches from the habaki.
Motokasane: 6 mm
Sakikasane: 5 mm

My preference for a 14 inches tsuka as well as the koshi-zori tachi style curvature makes the blade very manageable to my taste.

In kirioroshi and kesagiri, the sword’s tachi-kaze is audible.

Paper cut test has been performed with utmost ease, cutting very finely. It is incredibly sharp.

Ichudan no kamae do not be fooled by the tsuka lenght. Concentrate on the blade itself to view the reach. Kissaki is just below the eye line.

 
 

The katatemaki is done with a very soft semi-matt leather ito. Mekugi is made of black horn. Silver seppa can be seen next to the koiguchi while the unusual 70 mm radial tsuba stands out in its warm gray color.

This is a temporary picture until I can get enough long black card to achieve a better reflection of the blade.

The picture use of samé in the saya was the fastest solution to match a predominantly black and silver koshirae. This is the side where at the Kashira it is visible the five diamonds in full. Very good grip.

The quality of the samé-gawa is very visible here, fully protected by a good layer of hard varnish.
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Comments

wow


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I am speakless....... I just beg you to post more pictures from the blade.(Hamon, polish, tip) Anthony


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It truely is a masterfull piece sir. You should feel honored to have it.


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Another treasure designed by you .. sigh ... Wish someday I could afford something of that quality Leo


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The sword is beautiful and a credit to the smith who made it. The fittings and polish are masterfully done. Kudos to Howard Clark, Fred Lohman, and Bawko. You've also done a wonderful job simply designing the sword. -enjoy, you've a real treasure in that blade that few will ever get to experience. Best Wishes Dan


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INCREDIBLE


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INCREDIBLE


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A superb concept. Whats stunning is that you assembled everything in your mind and only saw the finished sword. Amazing! Thanks for sharing. J. Adams


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Damn Antonio,that really is one hell of a blade!I like everything about it.The 'feeling'I get from these pictures....fantastic! ---Tom


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Being one of the lucky few able to see this sword in person, I can see the amount of thoughts that puts in the design. It really is a great sword. It changed my view on sword designing. David


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Being one of the lucky few able to see this sword in person, I can see the amount of thoughts that puts in the design. It really is a great sword. It changed my view on sword designing. David


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I admire your attention to detail. It's a beatiful sword. It sounds much like the Yagyu-themed, "sword that takes life" iaito I have my eye on over at one of the major online shops.


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I wonder what I admire more: the sword or the mind that conceived it. Wonderful piece, and well done (as usual...), António. Delfim


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words can not express what you have said, and the parts you touched on about the energy intrigues me. Call me a lover of swords. Call me a person who wishes to study(many things). There is a reason for the blade, no doubt, one day I will hear it's name again. It's vision of creation came to you in a dream, or several perhaps. That is alone what makes it special.


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Masterpiece of art made by mastermind. Thank you for sharing with us.


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truly remarkable. from thought to fruition. modern anachronism, deadly beauty, alive or inanimate(?). i could go on with similies and metaphors, but i think you get the idea....stunning, remarkable, beautiful...Eduard Pena


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Another great work from a superior mind with peaceful looks. I hope you can post more of these stunning reviews. I am respectfully yours, Kishor Lothlicar



Antonio Cejunior
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